If you go up to the big car park in Hemyock on a Tuesday evening, chances are you’ll find Marc Jerem there with his SOUL FOOD van if the weather’s not too foul. Chances are there’ll be a queue there too, and sometimes, a bit of a street party atmosphere. Hemyock might only be a village on the Blackdown Hills but on a Tuesday night, man, it’s got SOUL. If you’re staying in one of our Devon holiday cottages at Stonehayes Farm you can have a piece of that because the other thing that Marc does is private catering.
SOUL FOOD is all about food of course, and about bringing people together to enjoy good tucker, connecting communities – stuff that’s good for the soul. That’s the main ethos of what Marc does and he certainly knows what he’s talking about; he spent his early days in the catering industry working for the likes of the award winning Castle Hotel at Taunton, River Cottage, Mark Hix, and The New Angel on Dartmoor, where he picked up high-end experience that has carried him through to where he is now. Sheer hard work and a huge zest for cooking gained him the job of sous chef at The Castle and a short stint as head chef at a busy restaurant in Exeter. Then he met his wife and settled down on the Blackdown Hills where he still lives with his young family, enjoying the rhythms of the seasons, inspired by the heartbeat of country life - and that really shows in his work.
Marc loves cooking. He truly loves it, he absolutely does and that’s partly why he’s so good at it. The Somerset/Devon borders are a great place to be when it comes to working with fresh seasonal food that’s either grown, reared, caught, or produced locally – meat, game, fish, vegetables, fruit, you name it, Marc loves to get his hands on it and turn something simple into something amazing, packed with flavour, brimming with creativity. Just looking at it makes your mouth water, sets your tastebuds skipping about pleading 'FEED ME! FEED ME NOW!'
For instance. He’ll take pheasants that are shot in the fields around the village and use the meat to make chorizo sausagemeat which he’ll wrap around local free range eggs to make the tastiest, most succulent scotch eggs ever; just the right amount of spices, nice and moist, nothing artificial and no bulking agents. Delicious. And of course, living in this neck of the woods means there’s plenty of opportunity to get out rooting about, foraging for the bountiful delights that nature gives us – exquisite fungi like chicken of the woods and chanterelles, parasol fungi, wild garlic, crab apples and big fat blackberries ripened by the Devon sun.
So, if you’re here for a holiday, a corporate stay, a hen weekend, or to celebrate a significant event, say a very special anniversary or a big birthday, you should give Marc a call. Get him to come round to your holiday cottage at Stonehayes Farm and cook something sensational for you. You might just want canapes and a few glasses of fizz, you might decide on afternoon tea on the lawn, a picnic down by the river, a bbq in the field, a hot or cold buffet, or a lavish 4 course feast. Whatever it is, Marc will come up trumps, and what you can be sure of is that everything is hand made from scratch, even the bread, the scones, the pastry, the sauces – everything. What’s popular these days is sharing platters and boy, does Marc know how to do these! You should see them! Meat, fish or vegetarian, it’s all created by his own fair hands and laid out on a big rustic board for everyone to tuck into. Equally good is his antipasti and tapas – all made for sharing, for groups of happy shiny people enjoying themselves.
You see, Marc likes to see people enjoying themselves. He’s a down-to-earth caring kind of guy but at the same time he takes his work seriously so a lot of flair and passion goes into the food he makes. He wants his customers to have top-notch fare with the minimum of fuss, so when you get him over to cook you won’t hear him clattering plates about and banging pans, he’ll get on with it quietly and discreetly. If needed he’ll bring waiting staff and when you’re done they’ll all wash up and put everything away, so apart from the gastronomic delights and those tantalising flavours lingering in your mouth, you wouldn’t know they’ve been. Now that’s the mark of a true professional.
A scrumptious celebration dinner in the comfort of your Stonehayes Farm holiday accommodation is the ultimate way to mark that special occasion; you don’t have to go anywhere, no one has to drive and any party poopers can go to bed early if they’re that way inclined. But something else Marc can do is come round with his van and lay on a garden party with a difference. His van’s cool, right up there in that shabby-chic vintage way that’s so big right now, all decked with pretty bunting, all hand sewn by his wife’s family when her and Marc got married. That’s a lovely touch.
The SOUL FOOD van is all kitted out with fryers and fridges for Marc to work like a trouper and serve up authentic food to go – and out it comes, things like handmade burgers, falafels, lamb kofta, piri piri chicken, aromatic duck with noodles, and fish and chips done the proper way – hand cut potatoes, cider batter – “The best fish and chips ever” some have said. If you want to keep it all outdoors – and let’s face it, Stonehayes Farm is the perfect location for it – give Marc a call; have a chat, tell him what food you’d like and then when he rocks up pop some music on, let your hair down and get into the groove. Happy days!
The other thing is that Marc cares about the planet; as Dad to two smashing little boys he’s got to think about these things, so he’s committed to reducing his plastic usage and won’t pass any on to his customers. Great ethics, great food, a great guy. Get organised for your stay at Stonehayes Farm and book up your SOUL FOOD today.